Open AI CEO Sam Altman Predicts the Next Trillion Dollar AI Company

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Source: TechCrunch, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a recent interview, we got how Open AI’s CEO Sam Altman thinks about the present and future of AI.

Open AI is a big deal. They are at the forefront of building the world cyberpunk and sci-fi have envisioned.

They make the most sophisticated algorithms with the biggest computing and data sets.

Does the name GPT-3 ring a bell? Open AI has built it and is the backbone of most copyrighting software. From Jasper AI, Rytr, to Peppertype. You will be surprised by the sheer quality if you have used any of them.

And Open AI doesn’t just make GPT-3. They are behind DallE-2, the AI image generator, and Whisper (a speech recognition software released last week).

This makes you wonder, what are they working on next? Where do they see the next big opportunity?

Sam Altman, the CEO of Open AI, has recently given a talk where he discusses a possibility of a more significant disruption than GPT-3 or DallE-2: the next trillion-dollar opportunity in AI.

What is Open AI, and who is behind it?

First off, just a few words about Open AI. Skip it if you already know.

Open AI is one of the first artificial intelligence companies solely focused on artificial intelligence in the private sector. OpenAI was founded in December 2015 by SpaceX co-founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Greg Brockman from notable data startup Cloudera, and entrepreneur Rebekah Mercer.

Since its creation, OpenAI has made significant contributions to both its citizens and AI.

And their algorithms are frighteningly good.

One of their most impressive achievements is in natural language processing, GPT-3.

And the speed of exponential growth of the algorithm’s performance is astonishing. GPT-2, the predecessor to GPT-3, was released in November 2019. Shortly after, GPT-3 was introduced in May 2020.

In a matter of less than a year, they were able to improve the algorithm with massive computing and datasets. New York Times gave GPT-3 the credit of being able to write original content with equivalent fluency to that of a human.

Same story for the image generator Dall-E. Dall-E was released in January 2021, and Dall-E 2 was announced in April 2022. Now Dall-E 2 has won an annual art competition in Colorado.

Open AI has surprised us by building algorithms that challenge jobs we initially thought were for humans — creativity.

So what does Sam Altman think about the current state?

The Current State and Limitations of AI

During the interview, Sam states that we are still at the tip of the iceberg.

So I think so far, we’ve been in the realm where you can do an incredible copywriting business or you can do an education service or whatever. But I don’t think we’ve yet seen the people go after the trillion dollar take on Google.

He brings up a good point that AI is still not able to generate net new knowledge for humanity. It has been able to train and synthesize massive amounts of information, but it only generates what people have been doing.

“It’s not going to cure cancer. It’s not going to add to the sum total of human scientific knowledge.”

But the key word is yet.

And that is what I think will turn out to be wrong that most surprises the current experts in the field.

Reinforcing his point that massive innovations are yet to come.

But where?

The Next Trillion Dollar Company in AI

Sam thinks the next significant breakthrough will be in “bio” or “genomic.”

There’s been some promising work in genomics, but stuff on a bench top hasn’t really impacted it. I think that’s going to change. And I think this is one of these areas where there will be these new $100 billion to $1 trillion companies started, and those areas are rare.

Some advice for someone going through this field was to avoid areas where human trials are necessary because they take time. An intersection of bio and materials or simulators will be a good starting area.

And a breakthrough may be brewing in the field of AI. DeepMind, a competitor to OpenAI, has been working on AlphaFold, an algorithm to predict the three-dimensional shapes of proteins.

It can potentially change how we think about proteins and how they work. AlphaFold could help unlock new insight into how proteins function and diseases develop by providing a more accurate picture of a protein's structure. This could lead to new treatments for conditions like Alzheimer’s and cancer. In addition, AlphaFold could help speed up the drug development process, as it is essential to understand how a protein will interact with drugs.

Recently, Deep Mind has released 200 million protein structures available for download to help scientists with their research (including sustainability, food insecurity, and neglected diseases).

Source: Deep Mind

Having been in the AI industry for the past 4+ years, I am stunned by the improvement speed. I believe we are past the “hype cycle,” as seen by the destruction of market caps in AI companies like C3 AI, and we have transitioned to a productive stage.

We will see groundbreaking companies, maybe a substitution for Google and other trillion-dollar companies.

What happens after the widescale adoption of artificial intelligence is especially frightening and unpredictable. How will we function when artificial general intelligence (AGI) arises? — “highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work” (Open AI)

My guess is that the things that we’ll have to figure out are how we think about fairly distributing wealth, access to AGI systems, which will be the commodity of the realm, and governance, how we collectively decide what they can do, what they don’t do, things like that. And I think figuring out the answer to those questions is going to just be huge. — Sam Altman CEO

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